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Innovation in Small Professional Practices in the Built Environment

Innovation in Small Professional Practices in the Built Environment

Shu-Ling Lu, Martin Sexton

ISBN: 978-1-444-31609-4 December 2009 Wiley-Blackwell 240 Pages


From the book’s Foreword by Trevor Mole, Managing Director, Property Tectonics; President of the European Association of Building Surveyors and Construction Experts:

Shu-Ling and Martin have built on their research work and that of others to produce an understandable and readable insight into innovation in small professional service firms. They have successfully unravelled the complex behavioural and organisational forces taking place and created a framework to help practitioners understand the issues and to fashion the right environment in which to foster innovation and deliver economic value.’

Small professional practices in the built environment are crucial to the success and long-term viability of the design, construction and property industries. This research-based book addresses the urgent need to better understand the nature and process of innovation in these important firms.

The authors offer an analysis of both why and how innovation is a key competitive factor for small professional practices in the built environment. As these practices are located in different business environments and behave in different ways to other types of industry firms, the context-specific methodology to design, implement and assess innovation in small professional practices presented in this book will appeal to researchers and practitioners in surveying and design.

Innovation in Small Professional Practices in the Built Environment makes a significant contribution to an underdeveloped area of innovation by offering new theoretical and practical insights and models grounded in results from a 22-month case study of a small professional practice.

About the Authors.

Foreword by Trevor Mole.

Chapter 1 Introduction.

1.1 Background.

1.2 Research Problem.

1.3 Summary and Link.

Chapter 2 Key Issues from the Literature.

2.1 Introduction.

2.2 Conceptualisation of Small Professional Practices.

2.3 Definitional Debate on Innovation.

2.4 Market- and Resource-Based View of Innovation.

2.5 Knowledge-Based View of Innovation.

2.6 Key Managerial Challenges for Innovation.

2.7 Key Research Questions.

2.8 Summary and Link.

Chapter 3 Knowledge-Based Innovation Model.

3.1 Introduction.

3.2 Description of Knowledge-Based Innovation Model.

3.3 Continuous Improvement Gap Analysis Framework.

3.4 Research Hypotheses.

3.5 Summary and Link.

Chapter 4 Case Study Methodology.

4.1 Introduction.

4.2 Overall Research Process.

4.3 Case Study Design.

4.4 Research Techniques: Qualitative Data Collection Techniques.

4.5 Research Techniques: Qualitative Data Analysis Techniques.

4.6 Validation – Triangulation Strategy.

4.7 Summary and Link.

Chapter 5 Case Study – Exploratory Phase.

5.1 Introduction.

5.2 Background of the Case Study Company.

5.3 Case Study Firm Perception of Knowledge, Innovation, HC, SC and RC.

5.4 Description of Identified Company Innovations.

5.5 Mode 1: Explorative Innovation Analysis.

5.6 Mode 2: Exploitative Innovation Analysis.

5.7 Summary and Link.

Chapter 6 Case Study – Action Research Phase.

6.1 Introduction.

6.2 Diagnosis.

6.3 Action Planning.

6.4 Action Taking.

6.5 Action Evaluation.

6.6 Specifying Learning.

6.7 Summary and Link.

Chapter 7 Discussion.

7.1 Introduction.

7.2 Types of Knowledge-Based Innovation.

7.3 Hypothesis 1: Knowledge-Based Resources.

7.4 Hypothesis 2: Capabilities.

7.5 Meta-Hypothesis: Knowledge Capital.

7.6 Summary and Link.

Chapter 8 Conclusions.

8.1 Introduction.

8.2 Contribution to Innovation Theory.

8.3 Comment on Research Problem.

8.4 Comment on Research Questions.

8.5 Key Limitations and Future Research.

8.6 Theoretical and Practical Implications.

8.7 Policy Implications.



Appendix A: List of Company Documentation.

Appendix B: Cooperation Proposal.

Appendix C: Interview Cooperation Proposal.

Appendix D: Interview Protocol.

Appendix E: Company General Finding Report.


· new theoretical and practical insights and models grounded in empirical research

· guidance on innovation supported by copious case study examples

· helps avoid risk of producing innovative solutions to the ‘wrong’ problems